Renewable energy is a topic that has become increasingly relevant to average citizens, civic organizations and governments alike. Stakeholders recognize that renewable has outstanding potential, but also legitimate costs. How can these parties work across sectors to make choices related to energy sources and uses that are best for themselves and their communities?
To help advance the discussion, LabX was invited to participate in the ONE Fair, a community-wide renewable energy fair held in Hudson, NY on April 7, 2018. LabX Director Geoff Hunt represented the team at the event, which was populated by renewable energy vendors, environmental sustainability groups, and other engaged stakeholders.
In keeping with the theme of informed decision-making, the LabX team came up with interactive activity about renewable energy. The idea was straightforward: participants were asked to think about their personal energy choices and choose one priority and one trade-off from a list of options:
- Environmental health and sustainability
- Reliability of service
- Energy independence
Each option was associated with a colored pin. Participants placed a pin for each choice on a large-scale map of the region to indicate where they lived.
At the end of the day, the LabX activity had collected over 60 responses. Though most respondents lived in the Hudson Valley, some came from as far away as Toronto and Long Island, NY. And the voting results were clear: environmental health and sustainability was the overwhelming top priority, while cost was the most voted-for trade-off. However, the lopsidedness of the results belie the thoughtful consideration of the question by participants, which in turn sparked several in-depth discussions amongst members of this community. At the end of the day, it was exactly the result we were looking for using the LabX approach.